Authorities at Mpraeso Secondary School (MPASS) in the Kwahu South District of the Eastern Region have hinted that at the commencement of the new academic year this week, a wind of change would blow at the school.
Consequently, the academic performance of students and general discipline among the student body are expected to improve tremendously. Parents and guardians of both continuing and prospective students have, therefore, been urged to fully support the school's authorities to ensure the success of the transformation process.
Speaking in an interview with this paper, Mr. Nii Okaija Dinsey, the Kwahu South District Director of Education, said the transformation of academic and moral life at the school has become imperative, particularly after a period of negative publicity.
"When the new academic year begins, everything will change at the school for the better. We are streamlining things at the school, right from the staff to the students. Indeed, I call it the new hope for MPASS", he declared.
Mr. Dinsey, who doubles as the Acting Headmaster of the school reveled that his "new hope for MPASS" agenda encompasses all aspects of life in the school, including the dress code. To this end, he said, "even the uniforms are being changed because I detected the material is inferior and not befitting the status of the school".
It would be recalled that during the first part of this year, MPASS was constantly mentioned in news reports for all the bad reasons, including allegations of graft and impropriety against its headmaster, Mr. Patrick Owusu-Manu. His accusers were of the view that he was preoccupied with making wealth at the expense of high academic and disciplinary standards. Subsequently, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) instituted separate investigations into his administration, which culminated in his interdiction last May.
The effect of the said media publications on the school, Mr. Dinsey says, was worrying. Repairing the damage therefore, calls for stringent measures and the contribution of all and sundry. As a result, all staff members have been sensitized and urged to sit up to ensure that MPASS reclaims its past glory.
Mr. Dinsey further told Public Agenda that on assuming the role of acting Headmaster, he observed that there were petty squabbles among staff members as a result of factionalism. He thus held a meeting with the staff and urged them to resolve their differences.
Another problem that confronted him was congestion of students in classrooms, arising from midstream admissions.
To resolve the problem, he disclosed that the school has requested fewer students from the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) programme as compared to the previous year and would abolish midstream admission of students.
Meanwhile, in separate interviews, some teachers speaking on conditions of anonymity have expressed satisfaction with the turn of events. According to one of them, before the school went on recess in July, the process of reinstituting discipline had began yielding results as "the practice whereby students were consistently sneaking to town had become rare." The teachers are hopeful there will be an improvement in the quality of teaching and learning once discipline becomes the norm.
However, this paper has gathered that five tutors (names withheld), comprising two males and three females known to be allies of Mr. Owusu-Manu have requested to be transferred ostensibly because they cannot fit into the "new hope for MPASS".